Facioliberism, or the philosophy of social media, is one of the strongest modern schools. It draws students and teachers from all parts of world – though a good many are holed up in Mum’s basement most of the time. The internet allows them a virus-free way to go viral. They may have to wear masks when they ride the bus to school, but they can be in your face 24/7 from behind the safety of the keyboard.

You may feel unease at reading this from someone who is also using a keyboard – but I assure you I am not in the basement. I am in my computer room. And I have had innumerable doses of vaccine administered over the years. Salk, Sabin, Mencken, Arouet, Swift, and Rogers vaccines, as it happens. I’m getting to be pretty damn immune to things…

But back to facioliberism. It is an easy philosophy to pursue – one need only read the memes and snippets of advice shared on social media. These may be drawn from fine minds…or they may be constructs that are plastered onto well-known names, using the fame these historic figures carry as a vehicle for whatever political message the sharer wishes to promote.

In facioliberism – abbreviated to “faceism ” in most restrooms – good advice can be clothed in virtuous pronouncements. So can bad thoughts – the coating is the thing. Occasionally wisdom can be coated in bitter words, and it takes a particularly brave mind to swallow it. Whichever might be the case, it is as well to scratch the surface of any meme to see what the core of it is under that coating. Before you swallow it, look to see if it is chocolate or a rabbit turd.

Faceism does do good, however, when it provides an opportunity for people to relieve inner tensions. Many people are not happy all the time, and some never at all. They need some way to share their angst and let it dissipate. They can use social media to do this – telling their woes to what they hope will be a sympathetic readership. If you see this, be kind – pass in silence or say a gentle word. You’ll not improve anything by offering advice.

Practitioners of MF – mischievous faceism – sometimes use the social media to start a minor argument amongst others. Then they take sides with the people who reply and can blow up small differences of opinion into full-blown flame wars. This is useful, as it gets cold in Mum’s basement and you can take a lot of the chill off the air with a heated exchange.

Of course, you’d never do that. Would you?

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